Summative and formative assessments are two overlapping complementary ways of assessing student progress in regional anatomy teaching and learning. Our present study was designed to create a new holistic assessment system that embraces both summative and formative assessments, and evaluate its impacts on student performance of regional anatomy. A collection of five formative assessment tests were designed and introduced into the teaching process of regional anatomy, and their performances were combined with scores of the summative assessment taken at the end of the semester to form the holistic assessment. And an anonymous survey was conducted to gather student perceptions regarding the assessments. We found, compared to summative assessment scores, students’ overall average points are higher by 4.67 points (P<0.05) and 9.23 points (P<0.01) when evaluated by the holistic and formative assessment; formative assessment scores are positively correlated to summative assessment scores, and the Pearson correlation is 0.624. Questionaire investigation showed 57.65 % of the students wishes to be assessed by the holistic assessmen, and 97.9 % of the students think that the holistic assessment can promote the frequency of student-teacher communication, which helps them form the right learning attitude and improve the performance. The results indicated that holistic assessment is a more reflective and practical approach of evaluating student performance in regional anatomy teaching, which can increase student- teacher communication and enhance the self-directed learning among students.
KEY WORDS: Regional anatomy; Formative assessment; Summative assessment; Holistic assessment.